There are a myriad of ways to add details to your stained glass projects including decorative solder, wire work, and glass paint to name a few. But glass painting opens up so many possibilities and many questions along with it.
And so, this article is all about glass painting and which ones to use on stained glass.
Even if you don't consider yourself a "painter", sometimes you just want to add an eye or a couple of little lines for detail. Or maybe you want to personalize something with a name or are looking for a way to sign your work? The answer could be to use special paints for glass.
Ever since I started working with stained glass, I wanted to do traditional stained glass painting, but I didn't start there. There was so much to learn about the making of stained glass that I had to start smaller and with more basic designs and tools.
Over the years I’ve tried many different types of glass craft paints before ever touching traditional stained glass paints. So I thought that I would share my favorite glass paints with you in no particular order.
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1. Folk Art Enamels
These glass craft paints are an acrylic paint, made by Plaid for glass and ceramics. They come in a variety of colors and in squeeze bottles that are very easy to store. These water based glass paints are non-toxic and can be used by air drying for 21 days or baking the glass in the oven.
As an avid crafter of many different styles of crafts, I was familiar with Folk Art acrylic paints and found that the Folk Art Enamel paints we're just as easy to use. These glass paints are opaque and are really long lasting after being baked onto the glass in a regular household oven. It would take some intentional scratching with a knife or something sharp to damage the paint.
The nose, flowers and dots on this stained glass bunny were painted with Folk Art Enamel paints for glass.
The green swirls, the toes and the eye were made using Pebeo Porcelain 150 Paint Pen (#4 in this list.)
2. DecoArt Gloss Enamels
The DecoArt Gloss Enamel paints are another type of glass crafting paint that are very easy to use. These water based paints can be baked onto the glass for a dishwasher safe finish. That's not to say that you should put your stained glass in the dishwasher! Just to be clear, we don't do this. Okay?
Applied with a paintbrush these paints are easy to clean up with water and are also non-toxic. DecoArt also has quite a few product lines in their enamel paints, including Gloss Enamels, Frost Enamels, Crystal Gloss Enamels, Glass Chalkboard Paint, Glass Stain and many others.
This cloche style lantern was painted using black DecoArt Gloss Enamels. The whimsical design was hand painted with a brush onto the amber glass.
3. Pebeo - Porcelain 150
Pebeo Porcelain 150 paints are another great glass painting product. These colors can be mixed to make your own shades and personalized colours and are cleaned with water. This line of paints also has a special thinner to use if the paint gets a little old and starts to thicken.
The Porcelain 150 paint is left to air-dry for 24 hours and is then baked in the oven to cure the paint.
Although these paints are still very easy to clean up from solid surfaces, it will take a little more time to clean your brushes. The Masters Brush Cleaner cleans them up beautifully, conditions them and is what I use on all of my brushes. Especially my good ones.
This white glass heart was detailed using the Pebeo Porcelain 150 paint in copper. The paint was applied with a sponge over a stencil to create the design.
4. Pebeo - Porcelain 150 - Glass Paint Pens
The Pebeo line also has a glass paint pen dispenser available. The Porcelain 150 Paint Pens are perfect for writing names on Christmas ornaments or doing any other detailed line work if you don't have great control with a paintbrush.
I personally found that these often dried out if they weren’t used consistently. But even still, the glass paint pens were super convenient when writing names or doing line work.
The eye, toes and green lines were are all painted using the Pebeo Porcelain 150 Paint Pen.
The flowers and blue dots were painted using Folk Art Enamels (#1 in this list.)
5. Pebeo - Vitrea 160 Outliner
These fancy little tubes of paint are a great way to add texture to your painted design.
The Vitrea 160 Outliner tubes have long slender tips for dispensing the paint. They do take a little practice to get a consistently thick line, but once you get knack for using them, they're a lot of fun to use!
After painting, the glass is left to air-dry for at least 24 hours and then gets baked in the oven to set the glass paint outliner permanently.
NOTE: Be sure the Vitrea 160 Outliner has dried thoroughly BEFORE baking. If it hasn’t, it will cause broken bubbles to appear in the paint while baking which you can’t get rid of.
The lines in the fairy wings were made using Pebeo Vitrea 160 Outliner in pewter. Some small glass seed beads were added to the tips of the lines of glass paint before baking and the painted acted like glue and held them in place!
The face details were painted on using DecoArt Gloss Enamels (#2 on this list.)
6. Traditional Stainer Paints - Reusche
After making stained glass for 5 or 6 years, I ventured into the amazing world of traditional stained glass paints. These paints are kiln-fired and they're the same type of paint seen in stained glass windows in churches.
These glass paints are layered on top of each other and fired to approximately 1250 degrees in a glass kiln. This basically melts the glass paint into the top surface of the glass.
It's this ability to layer the glass paint that allows the artist to get more depth in their work. This created the ability to control the amount of light that comes through. And, it it this depth which helps breathe life into their stained glass designs.
SPECIAL NOTE: Many of the traditional stainer paints contain toxins such as lead and cadmium. For this reason, I only use the lead and cadmium-free stainer paints by Reusche.
If you are interested in pursuing this fascinating type of glass painting, be sure to understand the safety concerns when using traditional glass paint and wear a proper mask or respirator and consider the proper ventilation as well.
In My Experience...
I use a small toaster oven dedicated strictly to crafting to bake my glass paint onto the glass. And anytime you paint on glass, the glass gets baked or fired BEFORE assembling your stained glass project.
I experimented one time with a small candle holder that I painted a couple of quick designs onto using craft glass paint.
I don't know why, but I never considered the melting point of the solder before putting it in the oven! Needless to say, when I removed the project from the oven, the four sides of glass had all toppled onto the base and the solder had melted all across the metal tray.
What a mess!
In any case, whether you are looking to add only a couple of details like dots or lines, or you're interested in getting started with traditional glass painting, there are many options for you to find exactly what you need to add your own artistic flair to your stained glass projects.
I can’t access the download for soldering. What am I doing wrong?
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Some truly nice stuff on this site, I love it.
Fantastic. I was wondering about this and you gave me good information. Thank you.
I’m so glad you found this helpful Lolly! Feel free to share anything you make in the Make Stained Glass group on facebook. 🙂
Helpful info on glass paint products!
When baking painted glass, what temp and how long? Thanks, good info.
Hi Nancy, Great question! Each type of paint has it’s own specific instructions right on the bottle but they’re usually in the neighborhood of 325 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes.
Does anyone know how well and how long Pebeo paints keep their color when displayed as a attic window. I’ve painted an attic window (looks like stained glass) and hung it today. I painted and oven cooked it all to specifications. But nowhere do I see how long I can expect it to last.
Great question Michael. I’m afraid I don’t have a proper answer to your question, however, I can tell you that the various oven baked glass paints that I’ve talked about in this article haven’t faded at all on any of my work that was created about 10 or 11 years ago. I’ll try to get in touch with Pebeo to find out a better answer to your question. Once I hear back, I’ll post the answer here for you.
Thank you Samantha Calder for your reply. I’ll await your response. This attic window will receive approximately 3 to 4 hours of direct sun a day. Regardless of the response, I’ll follow this up with a report after about 6 months of how the glass is holding up.
Hi Michael, I contacted Pebeo regarding the colour in their paints, so I’ll share with you the email I sent along with their reply.
My email- “Good afternoon, I teach traditional stained glass and often recommend your paints for added details to the imagery on glass projects as I love your paints. Anything I’ve created over the past 10-12 years using any of your baked on paint for glass has never faded, but the question was posed to me as to how long the paint colours will actually last. Would it be possible to obtain details about the colour fastness of your baked on products for glass (vitrea, porcelain etc) ? Thank you, Samantha ”
Pebeo’s reply – “Good day Mrs Calder, Light fastness charts are available for fine arts paint products: fine art acrylics, fine art oils , and watercolors…..Not for leisure types of paint products. Nevertheless, the Porcelaine 150 and Vitrea 160 have an excellent resistance to UV, for some INDOOR paint products. You did notice no color has faded after many years….I can say the same thing. Thank you for your interest. Best regards, Catherine PouliotConsumers assistance Pebeo ( North America)”
Thanks so much for the information! I have been struggling with just this .. making small eyes for sun catchers when cutting such a small sliver of glass seems like the foil will cover it up! Didn’t realize my option was so simple and close?
My pleasure, Leslie! I remember how overwhelmed I felt when I was looking for the right solutions for me. Glad the article was able to clear some things up for you 🙂
I bought a stained glass hanging light fory dining room and I really wanted to chsnge the blues to another color. Is there any way to do that?
The lady I purchased it from had taken the picture without the light on.
And my husband picked it up for me.
Hello Shelia, If the lamp was made with real stained glass, the colour is in the glass intself. The only way to change a colour is remove each piece of glass and change it out for another. I would suggest contacting the artist that made it and inquire what might be possible.
Thank you! This article was so helpful and timely! I was just about to purchase the Folk Art Enamel, but, changed my mind because the label said to oven cure it. My SG piece is already assembled, so this is not an option. I see that you indicate a 21 day air cure option for this brand. It’s readily available at my local store, so, I would very much like to use it, as time is an issue for me right now. Many thanks!
Perfect! Glad the details were useful for you…especially in a pinch.
Thank you for sharing this great information, Samantha. Would you please share your toaster oven temperature and baking time?
Each type of paint has it’s own instructions for temperature and baking time indicated on the bottle so it’s best to follow the manufacturers specifications. Most of them are in the 325°F neighbourhood and about 20-30 minutes range.
What a lovely article. Just getting into painting for my stained glass pieces and this was extremely helpful!
Hello! Samantha, have you any onsite as how the sun effects a painted window? Thank you
I’m guessing that every craft paint would be different as to how colourfast they are. The ones that I’ve used have all held up extremely well and show no deterioration in colour but you could always reach out to the brand of paint to ask them specifically what information they have about that. Any of the vitreous paints that get fused onto the glass in a kiln would be colourfast as they are made from finely ground glass and not pigments as most other paints are.